ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa Announces COVID-19 Response Package Is to Triple to $20 Billion

Video | 13 April 2020

ADB tripled the size of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic to $20 billion and approved measures to streamline its operations for quicker and more flexible delivery of assistance.

“This pandemic threatens to severely set back economic, social, and development gains in Asia and the Pacific, reverse progress on poverty reduction, and throw economies into recession,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.

The package expands ADB’s $6.5 billion initial response announced on 18 March, adding $13.5 billion in resources to help ADB’s developing member countries counter the severe macroeconomic and health impacts caused by COVID-19. The $20 billion package includes about $2.5 billion in concessional and grant resources.

Transcript

The COVID-19 pandemic has escalated dramatically. No part of Asia and the Pacific is immune from its severe impact on life, society, and economy.

The human costs are significant and rising every day at an alarming rate. Health systems are stretched thin in many countries.

The various travel restrictions, quarantines, community lockdowns and closures to contain the outbreak have far-reaching social and economic impacts. Many households face the bleak prospect of being pushed back into poverty. ADB estimates global economic losses of between 2 trillion and 4.1 trillion dollars.

To address the immediate needs of our developing member countries in mitigating COVID-19, ADB announced a 6.5 billion dollar initial package on March 18. But, the scope and scale of the crisis make it imperative for ADB to expand its support.

Therefore, today we launched a more comprehensive support package that is tripled in volume to 20 billion dollars. To deliver the new package in a much faster, more tailored, and impactful manner, ADB has also decided to further streamline our business processes, widen the scope of our support, and make the terms and conditions of our lending much more flexible.

At the same time, through this package, ADB will further strengthen its support to the private sector. We will quickly provide short-term working capital to companies, get the trade and supply chain moving again, and help people get back to work.  

I believe the 20 billion dollar package will empower governments and businesses in Asia and the Pacific to tackle the severe macroeconomic fallout, address the urgent needs of the poor, the sick, and the vulnerable, and blaze a path to strong recovery.  

I am profoundly grateful for the hard work and dedication of my own staff in making all this happen, as well as the continued support of ADB’s Board of Directors.

Throughout our interventions, we continue to collaborate closely with peer international organizations, including the IMF; the World Bank Group; and the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and other UN agencies.

ADB remains a steadfast and long-term partner for developing member countries in Asia and the Pacific. We will continue to provide vital support as they defeat COVID-19 and return their economies to a path of growth and prosperity.

Difficult times lie ahead, but I want to remind you that all pandemics, even extraordinary ones had an end in human history. 

So, let us stay safe, stay strong, and stay connected to overcome this unprecedented challenge together.

Thank you very much for working with us.